Hobbling the Hobby Horse

The vocational calling is a magnetic pull towards a specific course of action that is believed to be be of Divine design. Most people consider calling in relation to the ministry or medical field. Few consider what they do everyday to be a “calling.”

The fourth song on my CD Are You Ready is titled “Dear Lord, You Have Called Me.” This calling was in the nature of being. Called to BE and called to DO are entirely different callings. Yet who we are and what we do could not be more intertwined than when someone is a believer.

The first twenty years began with bustling pitter patter of feet through the house. whether the noise of children or pets, life alternated between hectic and peace. The last nine years were rather still. Being still and Doing still nothing is entirely different also. It is during the stillness that we find out most what we are made of… And quite often I find myself lacking.

Searching for a new vocation found me unsuccessful. My wanderings of late led me to a new author. She put it this way, “Novels are written out of the shortcomings of history” -Penelope Fitzgerald. The fact that she came to her career as a writer later in life is not lost on me. I find it very hopeful.

Fitzgerald’s life is full of mishap, adventure, and difficult life circumstances. Her belief in the underlying strength of women buoy’s me up. These days of the “fool’s spring” have me in quite the state of perpetual allergy induced asthma. When I should be out finally enjoying the balmy weather, I find myself indoors sucking on the nebulizer pipe. And taking up smoking is the last thing I have on my mind. Penelope Fitzgerald also suffered from asthma and COPD later in life. The fact that she pushed forward with her writing is very inspiring.

During my youth I was quite the bookworm in the family. The calling from my mother to come and help with the supper preparations often found me buried in pages. One time in particular, my mother called me from the bottom of the stairs to fetch the potatoes in the cellar. Yes, we had one of those. With a pine box full of sand, carrots, and potatoes and shelves lined with jars of preserves, we braved the damp, dark hole in search of the daily sustenance. This day in particular involved a hasty response, a slip of the hand across the banister pole, and a crash through the window at the landing. The stairs make an about face which I neglected. My mother’s voice still ringing in my ears, was now clouded with the sound of broken glass. She returned to her post at the bottom of the stairs to find that I was unharmed. The window, however, would need to be replaced.

This hasty response whilst in the midst of my reading was probably delayed by the “finishing of the paragraph.” Who would stop mid-sentence? My feet could not make up the time lost in the book. Sometimes, I feel like my whole spiritual journey can be summed up in that instance.

Indoor gardening began in middle January. This little lavender sprout is now one month above ground. I was successful at nine seeds. Not really sure how many I put in the soil. Touching them is the best aroma therapy. The greenhouse is is ready for spring planting. and the greanium planters number over 50! Flowers are abundant year round in my life.

For nine years now, life seems a tug of war between doing and being. The parenting years come and go so quickly. For just a brief moment in time we are gifted with little souls to teach being and doing as Christ ought. Then the birds leave the nest and mothering seems completed. Is it ever really complete? Now as a distant cheerleading section, the sidelines are ever so quiet. The calling to motherhood is such a blessing.

What am I to do now?

I face that question frequently. From my place in the library surrounded by the books that made us, I wonder what am I to do now? Being a wife, a mother of grown children, an Oma to my grandchildren, why does my heart yearn for something more? I want to do and be more than a pet parent, a gardener, a crocheter, or a prayer warrior. Why am I so unsatisfied with my life now?

Is this discontentment at it’s ugliest outcropping? Have the weeds of this world taken over the garden of my mind?

Crochet. Here are the first six suqres for my temperature quilt afghan. I am getting so excited about the project. Doing all of the strips in season will be next. Then the strips in between the seasons. I will be doing the months in intervals of three. So these are Jan-Feb-Mar and Apr-May-Jun. I still have my “crojo” on the plan so that is good.

Writing…

Writing my thoughts is part of my self preservation. If thoughts are not written they will blow away in the breeze. If self-analysis does not involve writing, then how can conclusions be made? Am I stuck being me and doing written self-analytical jottings just for me?

The fourth song on the CD is more about being than doing. It is in my doing that I discover my lowly ME will never measure up to God’s calling. “Be Holy” is impossible without Christ living through me. Some people love to sign off their writing with “In His Grip” but do they really understand what being in the mighty hand of God means? Sometimes it means that we are last years zinnia blossoms and He is crushing the dried blossom so that He can bury the resulting seeds under some soil and have new bushes.

I Peter 5:7. “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”

“Dear Lord, You have called me. Called me to be, to be holy. You have called me, called me to be, to be yours only. You must know what You are doing, to have made me so lowly. You have called me so I ask that You would make me Yours only.” -Yvonne Annette 1998

Here I have added July-August-September. And while taking a break from this blog, I completed October. Only two left. Stay tuned for the finished project. Mosaic crochet is my newest hobby.

My avocational hobbies have turned into my full time contemplations. Hobbies are often hobbled like a little pony in need of discipline. Much of my hobbled hobbies comes from the fact that my visual capacities are failing. Dwelling on the past hobbled hobbies could bring me much grief. And for nine years, trying to discover what I can still do is often lassoed by my failing eyesight. These moments will probably continue to cause me pain and humble me to a lowly state. Learning from my disability requires being humble as well as doing with aids and help. Tools are not always as readily useful and letting go of doing is never easy. Physical ailment and the gradual decline of the body is part of living. Every day we die a little bit.

The Twelve Days After Christmas

My favorite after Christmas gifts

Yep we are still making them and we’re still receiving them. Something so significant happened last year that it just put a few of us behind the times. Waiting to get sacked by the worldwide illness, puts a mind ill at ease. And then suddenly, winter arrived with Christmas right on it’s tail. Oh, dear, the wheels started turning and it was here and gone faster than the snowplow after the blizzard.

Who said anything about 12 days of Christmas I think it’s like 37 or 18 days of Christmas. For some of those holiday music lovers, it is 364 days and still on the favorite playlist. When it comes to the Nutcracker, of course, but Nat King Cole, and merry old souls on my Christmas music list it will have to stay on the November and December playlist.

We have some spill over though. Of the gifts, there is no end. Making Christmas every day and trying to complete the tasks of gift giving is not so easy when one side of the family did not even get together at all. With the virus rearing an ugly head, that was probably a wise decision. But alas without even using the technology to gather on zoom, there is a hole in my heart for missing them. How do you express to “close” family members that you miss them and we all just are not “close” enough for your own liking. I know this is a lot to be missed around the holidays, and nothing says someone is not here anymore like the holiday gatherings and an empty chair.

So on go the gift givings and perhaps if you are reading this and a family member, yours is still on the way, or sitting next to me here on the desk.

This beautiful lilac bush mulberry scoop is probably the best gift we received after Christmas. My father has a wood turning lathe in his finished porch. He is busy turning out gifts daily. The fun part is having him come over to the place and find pieces of wood out of the pile. The stack of wood is holding all kinds of gems that are best turned into beautiful pieces of useful items. Some chunks of mulberry tree, maple tree, or other such woods have turned out to be more beautiful than imagined.

“You can scoop ice cream in the bowl until you say ‘wow! that’s a lot of ice cream” and then that’ll be enough.” This was my son-in-laws sister at a family gathering pre-pandemic. Her response after the asking, “How much ice cream do you want?” Has stuck with me ever since. Most people answer with one or two scoops, but her’s was such a classic that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

How much ice cream do you want? How much Christmas is enough for you? Are you satisfied with one or two scoops? Are you okay with just one day? Or do you want the overflowing abundance that makes you feel full and miserable, and like you never want to eat again for another year?

Honestly, the “little is much when God is in it” is sometimes hard to accept, right?

Enjoying the present in each day was part of my vow or motto for the year 2020. Finding the present in each day is a bit like hide and seek when the two year old forgets to tell you that they are now playing the game. Aaahhhh!

Above is one of the presents that I am learning the value of. I have always wanted a wood turned crochet hook from my father in law. And here it is. It takes a while to get use to the shape and size of a new hook style. My plan is that the larger hook handle will force me use a larger stitch and make a softer fabric. Yep, it’s working. The first item that I am trying it on is a pair of mittens and hat combo. The mittens feel like a pillow on my hand. Hopefully they are just as warm. Thanks, Dad! i might have some ideas for a secon hook soon. Teehee.

This gift above is for my daughter. It will be a pillow case for her re-decorating attempt in her living/family area. I’ll have to take it with some Tuesday to finish it over the pillow. That is probably the only drawback to this pillow cover style. It is rather permanent. Oh, well. I do love this pattern for mosaic crochet. It is one of my favorite so far.

And of course, after the Christmas tree was all put away, I went to the storage shed and pulled out the wooden vehicles that were my husband’s toys as a boy. Many of them were made by his father. We repaired them for our girls when they were little to play with. So I pulled them out for our grandchildren to enjoy for the next few years. Some found a keeping place in the wide window sills of my living room, while others are just on the table or floor. It was like Christmas all over again as our little granddaughter found them one by one. It was good to have them enjoyed. And in a another year her brother will surely argue with her over which ones he gets to drive!

So maybe Christmas really is not over when the tree goes away after all. Each day holds so much potential for enjoyment. I hope like playing hide and seek as a child, your heart will squeal with glee at the gifts that God has in store for you in 2021!

The story of the little boy’s lunch is told in all four gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6). Some people call it the Miracle of Feeding of the Five thousand, but I like to think of it as the Miracle of the Little Boy’s Lunch. Of course , the four gospel’s all agree that the miracle did happen. This year I want to understand the “multiplying” power of God’s touch on little things.

The law of the multiplying seed is visible in so many ways. From the bread dough rising, to the pounds gained after eating cinnamon rolls the effect of the law God placed in nature is evident. And the most obvious is the seed itself, which is such a vast part of my life each and every day in Greenfield Greenhouse. This year, I plan to pay more attention to this law even in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. It is not just a cute Sunday School song from years gone by. “Little is much when God is in it” is a fundamental truth that I believe in.

Spend a few moments of your day to listen to this dynamic truth as song by David Phelps with the Gaither Band some twelve years ago. Be mindful of God’s touch on the faithful and find your small part of His Big Heart!

Turning a new leaf

From the old to the new

Everyone wants to run away from 2020 (the year) as quickly as they can. The book has a new cover and we have all turned over a new leaf of the book in the story of our lives. This past year brought so many challenges and trials to everyone.

This little “Hope Square” pillow commemorates what the past year and the hope for the new year entails. The square below was the first mosaic pattern that I crocheted during the past year. When I decided to make a pillow out of the little square, I used up some lefties. The ugliness is just to remember that the past year was that for so many.

Turn over the pillow, just like we turned over the calendar page.

It is a new year, new hopes and dreams. Most of the hope I have is for those that I love dearly.

Recently there was a lot of “hoopla” around the Star of Bethlehem. i only got to see it one night, on Christmas Eve. The rest of the time we had clouds in the way. Having a star on the top of my Christmas tree is part of our tradition. Some put a bow, some an angel, and others just leave it empty.

When we came home that evening, the yard light was lined up with our little outdoor pallet Christmas tree just right. I had to get this picture. There are so many things that this picture reminds me of. From the doggies and the outdoor play, to the bridge symbol of old and new, to the pathway to the geodesic greenhouse. I love this little lighted blessings photo.

And again, I can’t seem to get these Pink Blush geraniums out of my minds eye. I just love they way they show no shame for blooming in the middle of the winter. The plant is shy about giving me more legs to start more plants. I think I only have three shoots from this one. It is just so pretty!

These cold winter days require some ingenuity. Below is my recent re-make on a poncho that is a year or so old. The Hoodie was very unacceptable to me. So I replaced it with the sweater cowl neck.

I know, I was supposed to be working on those Christmas letters that are all now belated. The New Year’s grettings are being delayed also. And I am trying to make some more of the hope square potholders for my family members. Oh, well, I guess there is nothing wrong with being a bit behind on the schedule.

We will just pretend that since the whole world is backlogged on the vaccine orders, it is all just falling in suit. I am back logged on my crochet projects. I am behind on the letter writing. The salutations will keep for another row or two.

My husband says that since the weather is so delightful, who cares whether I crochet another row or two before the next envelope goes into the mail? They do not know any difference anyways, do they?

So if you are expecting a Christmas card for me, it is on the desk in the other room. I am curled up under my blanket poncho and crocheting another square.

Crochet is not just what I do, it is kind of who I am.

Ecclesiastes 1:11, “Things are forgotten nearly as quickly as they happen, and as soon as things are new they are suddenly old.” Okay that is my paraphrase of the verse, but it really does say that we don’t remember what happened in the past, and everyone has to make therir own mistakes and learn from them. Blessed is she who learns from the mistakes of others. There’s my proverb for the new year. Haha.

Autumn falls into winter

From dry to snow to shirtsleeves again

Where else do we scoop snow on Sunday and mow the following Saturday? Wo, this land of infinite variety sure has us busy with all three seasons in one week.

Since when have we called this “God’s country?” Sometimes I think people are a little too proud of their place of origin and not giving full credit to whole scope of things. Oh, well, the soap box is all soggy and won’t hold me up any longer!

Years past I have collected the zinnia seed late in October, and this year I picked them off in September. The lawn is so dry that the grass is crunching under feet like french fries left in the fat too long. I was tempted to water the yard before it go cool again. We may be re-seeding more of the yard than planned.

A few years ago, my daughter’s retreat from wok place took her to the hammock while she was home. And then she had to work the weekend that we worked on the Greenhouse erector set. There are so many pictures of the construction in my pictures from four years ago. We just replaced the pond pump that filtered the water and added humidity to the room. It’s great to hear the sound of the water again when I walk in there. The plants will all soon be happy again.

Four years since we built the greenhouse and a name and a logo are still in the works. I have done some drawings or sketches but a marketing or graphics helper would be better at it. Anyone want to help? It is soon coming I hope.

Saving seeds and sharing goodies is my favorite part of the building. I hope next spring is even more generous.

Planning ahead for the next year, or the next growing season is so much fun. I know that I am a perpetual spring-aholic!! The plans always seem to be more in the head than on pater. I tried to keep things in a notebook once and got a little confused Suddenly it was three seasons later and I had not even looked at the list. Oops!

The beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder. For some reason, I just love this picure of the dired cone heads after the harvest was all complete. Three days late it snowed and we were digging the carrots up in the snow. Brr!

So I am back to crochet. I take a “warm” break in the greenhouse in middle of the day. It is so lovely to go and get warmed to the bone. Hats and mittens take up a larger portion of my busy time and they are a great in between thing for the larger projects to be set aside and rest my brain some!

I am so grateful for the chance to watch plants that God created grow. And I am so thinkful for the ability to be creative with my yarn projects. And NO-I have no plans to rais flax and make thread from it. Nor hemp, or cornsilk, or any other plant material that might make my allergies go completely bananas! That is the honest truth, because I am allergic to those little yellow buggers now too!

So Thanksgiving has come and gone. The goose is still getting fat. Which in our case the goose might be the bank account actually getting smaller, so that’s not true either.

This fall, my poor hubby is learning the value of a good strong spine. An old injury that he had, has turned into quite a physical challenge. Physical therapy seems to be the answer in discoving most of his nerve impingement. My heart aches for him as he tries to figure it all out and get answers from medical staff during this world health crisis. I pray for his safety every time he has a meeting with someone.

My health improved considerably with the onset of cold weather. However, my eye sight continues to be an issue. So many things do not even get attempted because of it. And then when I do try something new, technology just does not seem to aid me as much as you might think it should. Oh, well.

Ecclesiastes 12:1. (ESV) “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ” I have no pleasure in [birthdays anymore] them.”

I am not picking on the birthday people really, it’s just that this month holds significance for some and this verse seemed appropriate for all the happenings in the world and the memories I have of all the people celebrating this month. I sure hope that Christmas still holds some excietement for you and that celebrating Christmas as the birth of our Lord brings you some pleasure this year. Even if you do spend the day alone. Find someone to call. Find someway to give something this Christmas.

November blunders

Mistaken speeches

Hasn’t this month been full of them? There are times I just want to turn the owrld off and wake next year. But that’s not an option. And now is not the time for the populous to enter a comatose state and ifnore what needs to be done. There are so many things happening in the world today, it makes my head spin.

Meanwhile in my exile out here in the country, I have to find something to do with myself. So I probably try to keep myself too busy and ignore much of the world’s problems. But there is still something to keep my occupied. So I carry on.

The weather has entered an every other week pattern. One week of moisture and one week of mild temperatures. The Greenhouse has been staying pretty even kilter on the thermometer and we have not had to use any heat during the day. The beauty of things growing and blooming is such a bright spot in my day.

The above phot really accents the building technique we used on the grow beds. With the brick walkway and the gernamiums from my sister in full bloom, I called this the perfect “greenhouse Selfie!” It’s one of my favorite phots ever from the Greenfield Greenhouse!

this little checkerboard lapghan is still not complete. The two ends will have a sweater stitch checkerboard pattern also. It just needs to be rectangular to actually work as a lapghan. It was a fun lefties project after my great big C2C blanket.

One of the funny stories from my little grandaughter happened this month. We were stilling at the table and she spied a covweb above the chandelier. “There’s a spider web!” She declared in her two and a half year old matter of fact way. I told her “you’ll have to get your broom and sweep it down.” She replied in her driest Eeyore voice- “Can’t reach!”

It was rather funny. She makes that declaration quite often as she takes after her Hawaiian Great-Grandparents in her height. We won’t mention that her maternal grandma and great-granny are rather short also.

I forgot to trun the above photo before uploading. Oh, well. The Lemon and lime Starburst baby blanket is a real gem. It has no reciepient yet, so I’ll just have store it for a time. The Softee brand baby yarn was perfect for the project. Sometimes I out do myself and then there is not one to appreciate it.

This little pot holder is my plan for the next month. The mosaic them is “Hope” for the world. I think it is befitting a Christmas focus. Though the colors that I found are nothing but Christmas. Sometimes it is nice to have Christmas every day of the year. So I will keep on making them until I am really a professional. Haha

This past month the politcal and civil unrest has kept me from participating in the world’s chaso. But I would say that this picture is proff that the minority wins. The one with the loadest voice is eventually silenced. Either by compromise, appeasement, persecution or execution. I don’t believe in the latter for the above feline, but her cries can be pretty unnerving. So there are days, I just let her come in to shut her up. Autumn was our “car kitty” from two years ago. She and two other gals were shipped away to be fixed earlier this year. I was hoping that she would selttle down agter the affair with the surgeion’s knife. No such luck. She’s still just as loud and obnoxious as ever.

Autumn is proff that perhaps protesting does work. (Even though I firmly believe the opposite.)

And finally, I am attempting another prayer shawl in jsut two colors. “All around the mulberry bush” has been a challenge at times. The red grape and green grape colors are pretty though. The monkey is the skein of yar-if you were wonderdering. The tail is the thread, and the weasel is my crochet hook. I hope I can finish itwithout too many blunders. The mistakes have me putting the project aside quite frequently as I contemplate where I went wrong and what can be done about it.

Forgeveness is my new best “giving” this November. I have been offering up for myself and for others frequently. As Thanksgiving approaches, the season of GIVING arrives with such gratitude for all that we have here in this life. I hope that you will find some time to be giving this season as well. And find it in your heart to lend mercy to another in your life as well.

And now that Thanksgiving is nearly upon me, I’ll probably go and make a few more mistakes. Had to take our a few rows of the Mulberry Bush to fix the pattern blunder. It is much bigger now and almost on the last motif.

The “once indoor” cat continues to scream at the kitchen window to be let inside. I’m not sure what I have done to myself. We spent the day outside again on Sunday trying to create our own mulberry stump rocket stove. I grew impatient and the kettle of water booiled shortly after I came indoors. My hubby used it to put out the fire and we will play again another day.

Well, there went one more month in 2020 with nothing more than a rear view of what blunders i created. Hindsight continues to be lacking in most of the world. People are in such a hurry forward that this time to “slow” down has hardly changed the majority of what people do.

I am okay living a simpler life.

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”

Contemplation stone

Think, think, think!

The last five weeks have been very full. That does not mean there has not been time to think though. I’m not sure I shall ever be that busy again.

The garden’s fall harvest is in full swing and the business of putting away our winter store kept us very busy. We gave away a lot of produce this year thanks to our decision to increases our garden plot by 200%. Don’t judge my math, I am not the engineer in the family.

So one weekend while waiting for some more tomatoes to ripe, we took on the rock pile and found a few statement stones to place around the greenhouse for the landscaping project. It looks so much better, I don’t know why we did not start this sooner. The perenials that I wish to put around the perimeter will wait until next spring. The dry weather just makes watching them die after a fall plant too depressing.

While we were at our binge exercise plan, we found a large flat stone for a bench. The contemplation stone only named such, and has an amazing comfort to the weary back after bending over the garden tasks. So, think, think, think, we like our beloved Winnie the Pooh Bear, now have a spot on which to contemplate all sorts of topics.

On adding another teaspoon…

Most of the zuchini is made into our favorite pepper relish. Adding just one teaspoon more of the hot dried peppers from the past season can make it nearly inedible. The sweet pickle relish with a kick is a family favorite and keeps the jalapeƱo plants purposeful.

The tomatoes find their way into salsa more than chilli, or Italian sauce. The family recipe for the salsa can be tweaked by just adding so many habaneros or so many jalapeƱos. The number is contemplated with precision or the mild batch turns into “fire-salsa” pretty quickly! Oops!

Filling up wonder…

The back porch swing received a new coat of paint along with the propane tank. The gas bubble is not near as adorable as this little girl. She had a cry-fest for this moment. Yep, Grandma let her win. I forgot she wanted to spent a few moments on the swing. So we went back outside to ride the wave. The shade, the breeze and the motion are so very relaxing. Even though it delayed my supper preparation by fifteen minutes. I loved seeing the wheels in her little mind churning in wonder and contemplation.

Grandparents day went by without a peep from the grandkids, but a weekend in August gave us a chance to have the little gal for an over-nighter. Our little two-derfully wonderful toddler has us guessing what goes on in that little head. Sometimes she expresses herself quite clearly, other times we are left to wonder. The best thing about grand-parenting is filling up little brains with wonder and awe as they discover new things and experiences.

Testing boundaries…

Another of our projects was filling up a rather large ‘dead space” with interest. The butterfly shape is just full of rocks for now, but next spring I hope to clean out the rocks and fill it in with interesting flowers and perenials. I have a lot of the seeds already and plan to jumpt start some planters in the greenhouse. Then, fill in the spaces with seed to sprout on their own. The cats seem to think I have created a new playground. The dogs chase the cats through the stones, and they are all testing the boundaries of my patience. During the same time frame of placing all the rocks, our Doodle decided to hunt in the dug out hole out back. Of course she suffered an injury that needed surgery. So we spend another five hundred dollars on her. She healed up nicely and there is only a small imperfection in her thigh. Honey just does not seem to in-dear herself to us in a calm fashion. No matter what happens, the stinger finds a way in somewhere. Honey still won’t loose-leash unless she has a harness. So we wrap the leash around one or both front legs and she’s like a horse that walks on a string of twine. Oh, well. There have been days when she guides me like she went to school for the job, Other days I want to send her away to the kangaroo boxing school.

The view from here…

This little guy is the highlight of my Tuesdays. He watches his sister with so much concentration. His gurgles and giggles when she pays attention to him are so full of glee. I know that the view from here will only become more and more amazing each week that I see him.

I am thankful that for us the threat of the virus seems to stay at least three or four people removed from us. My husband knows people off from work because of the virus, but they never seem to be someone he has any close contact with. We had a nephew that recovered well from the virus, leaving his pregnant wife and four year old untouched by the illness. So for now, I will keep visiting my little grand babies.

Returning to the library…

Going back to finish a project left undone can mean many things. Facing the past failures, or the moment when something had to be redone. This lap-ghan was not nearly the end project that I had envisioned. The smallness actually took me by surprise. However, the stitch pattern that took so much concentration makes it highly valued to me. I can’t see letting it go like a carpet of leaves on the lawn. Give aways are part of my purpose in crochet, but this one might cause me to cling for awhile.

My library / office sat empty much of the month. I spent so much time baby sitting the stove during the last few weeks, I just did not get in here. Sometimes the thought of sitting amongst all those books that I can no longer read, or read with difficulty, I just avoid it.

Then, there was the new update on my blog host, so I was stuck until my hubby got me out of the mud. Any time that changes are made on the site (and sometimes inadvertantly by me) I could sit for days or weeks in limbo. Asking for the help is usually the key to unlocking my difficulty.

Also, this past month, I spent contemplating the though of stem cell therapy for my eyes. There is a company that does the stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. We made a few phone calls and did some research, but the risk of traveling with the virus and the fact that it is out of the country have made me very skeptical. Is the risk really worth the travel and the money?

For now I feel like someone is giving me a hefty dose of wonder and another teaspoon just might put me over the edge. Perhaps, I shall just sit here on my contemplation stone and let the whole of life pass me by. Living life in the high risk category sure makes for a rocky path. The boundaries seem so unclear and out of focus. Perhaps, this is just not the time to gather the honey.

For bitter or for sweet

The long and short of it all…

This blog was suppose to be published in June, as we celebrated 29 years of marriage.I should not be so bold to say celebrate. Actually we spent the week waiting for the arrival of our second grand baby. At the time we were still guessing wether he would be a boy or a girl. Boy, some of us were wrong!

Twenty nine years is significant in some ways. Many people don’t make it through the adulting of their children. Either by illness or divorce. This year the month concluded with news that indeed was the case for some people we knew. Divorce. Our hearts were broken for the friend. And especially because the news took two years to reach us.

“For better or for worse, for bitter or for sweet, in sickness and in health, until death do we part…”. Does anyone even make this kind of a vow anymore? It seems the whole of world thinks the rose bushes no longer have thorns. I am glad that my daughter has such a bush right out her kitchen entrance. Every time they leave and come back to the house, it is visible and during the summer on full display.

Marriage is work. And it takes two. So many are disillusioned by the pursuit of happiness they forget the true purpose of marriage. Here is the jist of what we believe: marriage is a reflection of Christ and the Church. Marriage is so that the onlookers will know that the Lord is God. Marriage is so that each partner has an opportunity to learn the value of unconditional love.

Unconditional.

For bitter or sweet, I love and serve the needs of another. It’s up to me to make the bitter sweet. Like making chokecherry jelly. Those little berries have got to be the most bitter things (buffalo berries are pretty bad too). When we are handed a pail of these cherries, it might take the whole bag of sugar to make them sweet. Roll up you shirt sleeves, gather up your best character values and make some jelly. Be the sugar if the other partner is the berries.

Does anyone know how to become better or is the whole world just becoming more and more bitter every time things get a little difficult. Learning to do things that are hard becuase of the value of doing it. Like a marathon, life can be hard sometimes.

Marriage in the evening years.

Maybe I should not classify us in the twilight of life. But some grandparents really do see this time of life as a sunset

Last week, I made a phone call. Perhaps it was a bad decision. But we adopted a ten year old retired breeding labrador retriever. Young families with children in the house don’t want to watch a puppy grow old. Let alone, an old dog get older.

The twilight of life for a breeding dog is the pleasant years. No more working for this sweet little girl. She can laze away her days on the porch swing if she chooses to. But don’t be deceived, Eva has a lot of energy yet. The first twenty four hours her little feet did not stop once! I think she tried to smell the whole acreage.

Adopting an elderly dog has both it’s sweet parts and its bitter parts. Of course learning all of her quirks will take at least a year. The sweet part is that she is already trained to heel, follow, retrieve, and does not nip or step on your toes. She really is a good oe’ girl.

Why in the world would we get another chore? Well, doing for another is not so bad when the another is so sweet. Serving the person with an applesauce attitude is much better than serving a person with the attitude of a rotten banna. You know what I am talking about don’t you? Please don’t make me spell it all out.

Honey was absolutely sure there was no room for another dog. She has tried to be the boss of everyone since we’ve known her. She snarls at nearly every dog she meets. Even with socialization, she is not real friendly towards other dogs. To other people she is on the top of the friendliness chart. She would go home with anyone. That’s why her collar has her name and phone number on it.

Eva… our evening doggie is so subservient, it makes Honey look like shoe leather. How one dog can be soft an another like shoe leather is pretty visible quite quickly. Of course this little bulldozer does know how to crash through the thicket that has been a stand alone for over twenty years. The only think I have ever seen come out of the thicket was a cat we had once that would eat the baby bunnies. Eva went right through like a bulldozer. she is pretty thick skinned actually. And so now the lily garden has a fence around it. And she gets tied up when I am in the garden. Or there won’t be any lettuce to eat.

So when things get a little too rough for this grandma, it’s time for an iced coffee and a lazy cat on the bench. This cat is Tabitha, or Tabby for short. She is last years kitten from a neighbor. Only two of the five stayed off the road. Our house is less than 100 feet from the pavement. Some of the cats are truly suicidal. I have to feed them before taking Honey fo a run or bike ride. But now the old mama cat had six kittens this spring and four of them are orange. Might have to come up with some new names that mean orange or maybe just the names of the oranges, like tangelos, nectarines, cuties, and mandarins? Do we have the right lifestyle to adopt another dog? We had all of the accommodations. Our kennel outside sat empty and there were plenty of leashes around here to hook up another walker. Right lifestyle or not, there are some things that change. For instance who is feeding who when? And perhaps we could use another walk at the state park nearby.
Affording the change? Well, she’s pretty small and there’s not much hopefully to anticipate for her needs. But just a week or so ago, at my annual physical, my doctor told me that I could afford a lifestyle change.

Really she said just that. Okay, maybe it was “your cholesterol ranks a little high and you could get those numbers down with diet and exercise.” I heard, “you are getting a little fat, this weight gan cna be reversed by taking up rowing,m running, weightlifting and it would be best to remove all the seet tasty treats in your life and eat just rabbit food. You know at your age you could afford to make a lifestyle change!”

Doctors never make those calls. It is always the nurse. She was mean. I knew all that just by lookin in the mirror. That’s wjy I avoid looking!

Twisting the facts a bit is not really telling a fib now is it? i just turned her bitteersweet news into a more audible warning. Twisting my nose would have been just as effective.

Eva and I have a lot in common actually. I’m pretty set in my ways at this point in life also. I can relate to the few extra pounds that one puts on after going into menopause. I know what it’s like to have habits that drive me to do things a certain way. But I refuse to a be a bulldozer into other peoples thoughts or lives. Hopefully, we can be sweet enough that the chokecherry jelly will turn out to be great syrup for pancakes. Just have to use more sugar I guess.